So it’s getting late and you receive a call from your teenager while they’re out with friends. They sound hesitant and a bit edgy, however when you ask they assure you that everything’s fine. The next day, you find out your child drank alcohol or tried drugs for the first time and they didn’t know how to escape the situation they’d found themselves in.
This is exactly what Bert Fulks faced with his teenage son, Danny. Fulks is a pastor, and knows how difficult growing up in that environment can be. Fulks trusts his boy, but wanted to make sure that his son trusted him to come to the rescue, without judgement, when needed.
Fulks then developed an ingenious text script which allows his son to send out an S.O.S. without being embarrassed in front of his friends.
Fulks got the idea after he spoke to teens in addiction clinics across the country. “Recently I asked these kids a simple question,” he writes. “‘How many of you have found yourself in situations where things started happening that you weren’t comfortable with, but you stuck around, mainly because you felt like you didn’t have a way out?’ They all raised their hands.”
Fulks gave an outline on his website:
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say that my youngest, Danny, gets dropped off at a party. If anything about the situation makes him uncomfortable, all he has to do is text the letter “X” to any of us (his mother, me, his older brother or sister). The one who receives the text has a very basic script to follow. Within a few minutes, they call Danny’s phone. When he answers, the conversation goes like this:
“Danny, something’s come up and I have to come get you right now.”
“I’ll tell you when I get there. Be ready to leave in five minutes. I’m on my way.”
At that point, Danny tells his friends that something’s happened at home, someone is coming to get him, and he has to leave.”
In order for Plan-X to be effective, kids and teens have to know they WON’T be punished for the situation they are trying to get out of. Fulks insists that a ‘no questions asked’ policy is essential for building trust between parent and child and assures the child will feel comfortable utilizing their ‘way out.’
He admits the hands-off style can be hard for some parents to adopt, but he is convinced that mutual trust and respect is the only way to keep his kid, and most other children out of trouble.
Isn’t this brilliant?
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